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What Are the Different Types of MBA Dual-Degree Programs?

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  • Written By: Terry Masters
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2016
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The Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is considered by many to be an advanced academic credential with many cross applications into other occupational fields. Business theory and practice can be an integral part of a person's success in a job that has another primary focus. There are many different types of MBA dual-degree programs that are offered by universities around the world. Most of the popular programs confer dual master's degrees, but some pair the MBA degree with a terminal degree, such as a Juris Doctor (JD) or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) credential.

Dual-degree programs have surged in popularity in the first decade of the 21st century. Traditionally, there were few structured dual-degree programs offer by universities, with the joint JD/MBA being the most common pairing. As levels of educational attainment changed and the job market became more competitive in tightening economies, universities began crafting MBA dual-degree programs that addressed the need to be versed in more than one career path and grounded in business methods that have become even more important as technology enabled the globalization of the international marketplace.

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There are now as many different types of MBA dual-degree programs as schools can imagine for practical purposes. It is almost impossible to impose a categorization scheme on these sorts of programs because every school structures its degree programs differently. Perhaps the only relevant distinction is between dual master's programs and programs that offer the MBA paired with a doctorate. Within the dual master's category, however, the options range from Master of Science to Master of Arts degrees across the academic spectrum.

MBA dual-degree programs that offer an additional master's degree provide the student with the benefit of receiving two degrees with one fewer year of study. This type of dual-degree allows two two-year degrees to be completed in three years instead of four. Examples of this type of joint program include the MBA/MS in urban planning or architecture, MBA​​​​​​​/MS in nursing and the MBA/Master's of International and Public Affairs (MIS).

The other category of MBA dual-degree programs includes MBAs paired with terminal degrees, or degrees that take longer than two years to complete. In these instances, the joint study will still ordinarily chop a year off of the time it would take to pursue each separately. For example, the two-year MBA paired with the three-year JD can be completed in a structured dual-degree program in four years. Another example is the MBA and Medical Doctor (MD) degree, which can be completed in five years instead of six. A new development in MBA dual-degree programs offers the MBA and a PhD in any field that a school offers that can be completed in seven years.

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